As a business providing healthcare services in the Province of Ontario we are required to adhear to the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). As such, we are required to have Policies regarding the protection of information and a designated Privacy Officer. Learn more about our policies below ...
Care of information provided in person
Our services are normally provided through conversation during an appointment which takes place in person in our offices. Conversations are private and confidential, except as prescribed by law (for example, if you are going to harm yourself, another or someone under the age of 16 is in need of protection, or if your files are subpoenaed by a court of law, or if you consent to have the contents of your files disclosed to someone of your choosing).
Written content you may provide (eg., forms you may fill out), note taking of your therapist during sessions, and charting specific to your therapy and treatment planning, is maintained in order to effectively manage your progression toward your goals. Files are stored electronically within "Jane App" which is PHIPA compliant (it follows standards prescribed by law for electronic health charting). Charts are accessible by both your therapist and the Privacy Officer (Anne Marie Shewfelt) who is the lead therapist and acts as the custodian of records for MFT Toronto.
Care of information provided through Electronic Media
We do not normally provide electronic types of counselling, mostly because there are inherent limitations to confidentiality with respect to electronic media, which create extra risks to be managed. Unless otherwise discussed, it is requested that you do not share information that you wish to remain private through electronic media, and that any content you do share, that you accept in advance the inherent risks for privacy. For example, electrontic forms of communication cannot be guaranteed to be fully secure as they may not be encrypted or may be stored on servers which do not adhere to the standards required by the province pertaining to Personal Health Information. Also, your password which protects such content may be known to others or content may be accessible by others through shared devices and saved passwords, etc. If the information you wish to share before or after sessions has content of a sensitive nature, please do not communicate electronically, but rather contact your therapist or our Privacy Officer to discuss the best way to share this information.
Therapists at MFT Toronto do not normally initiate email with their clients with the exception of system-generated scheduling and receipting. In some instances therapists receive emails from clients and typically they will reply pertaining to appointment scheduling, logistics, or questions about our practice, types of therapy, rates, etc. It is not advisable to share sensitive or confidential information in an email which is not encrypted and stored on servers whose security may not adhere to the standards required by the province pertaining to Personal Health Information.
Therapists at MFT Toronto do not normally text with their clients. In some instances therapists receive texts from clients and typically they will reply pertaining to appointment scheduling and logistics. In order to minimize texting, the main number for MFT Toronto is a landline. It is not advisable to share private or confidential information in a text which pops up without an ability to provide adequate confidentiality, is not encrypted, and is stored on servers whose security may not adhere to the standards required by the province pertaining to Personal Health Information.
For your convenience and to minimize administration, MFT Toronto uses "Jane App" an encrypted electronic scheduling page which is PHIPA compliant. Your therapist will request your permission to use electrontic scheduling before they use this tool to book an appointment with you. If you use the scheduling tool online to book an appointment youself, it will be presumed that you provided implied consent to have your personal health information consisting of your name, contact information, appointment type and date in conjunction with our company and therapist information stored electronically, and to have this information passed electronically (eg., email) for the purposes of booking, confirming, rescheduling, and reminding you of appointments. If you do not wish for this information to be stored and shared electronically please do not use the scheduling tool yourself rather call your therapist. Also, please opt out of this convenience prior to your therapist scheduling your first appointment.
MFT Toronto uses electronic receipting for your convenience to issue receipts (or duplicate copies) which can be used for applicable health care claims or extended health care benefit coverage. Your therapist will request your permission to use electrontic receipting at the end of your first session. An electronic receipt contains personal health information consisting of your name, contact information, appointment type and date in conjunction with our company and therapist information. If you do not wish for this receipt to be shared electronically (email), then please notify your therapist to opt out at the end of your first session, and a copy can be printed instead.
By initiating, or responding to text or email, or by booking an appointment online, or giving your consent to allow your therapist to book online, or giving your consent to electronic receipting, you are indicating that a) you understand the inherent risks involved in electronic media, b) you are willing to accept the risks associated with the specific content that is being shared, and c) you release MFT Toronto and associated therapists from the requirement to safeguard your privacy specific to this content and these risks.
Care of information specific to additional treatment planning
Peer and Paid Supervision for the purposes of treatment planning
From time to time, it is advisable that therapists seek supervision to ensure the highest standard of ongoing ethical care and treatment planning for their clients. When a certified therapist does so, they disguise the names and or details of their clients so that your confidentiality remains intact. You may ask your therapist to share the name and credentials of the supervisor they use, or to discuss the importance of this extra level of care that is provided to you at no extra cost. Qualifying therapists will be Supervised by Anne Marie Shewfelt who will also have access to reveiw the full content of charts and case notes.
Recording for the purposes of treatment planning
From time to time, it is helpful to record sessions using audio or video for the opportunity to review and reprocess conversations and to assess or reassess treatment planning decisions and next steps in therapy. This is of benefit to clients because the therapist attends to their content more than once when this is done. It can also be beneficial to clients when they get to hear extracts prepared for them which may encourage their progress in therapy. The recording could be audio or video, but niether will be used without prior informed and written consent. This extra level of care of revisiting sessions is completely voluntary and is offered at no extra cost to our clients. If you would like this option, please request it from your therapist.
While supervision is covered through our normal consent process, recording will be covered by seperate written and informed consent.
Marriage and Family Therapy Toronto (MFT Toronto) is the Health Information Custodian of client health records of all therapists on contract to MFT Toronto. Anne Marie Shewfelt is the Lead Therapist, Supervisor, and Privacy Officer of MFT Toronto for all PHIPA and PIPEDA obligations. Questions or concerns can be directed to her attention by calling 416-901-1199.